Submitted to: Crop Science Congress
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2000
Publication Date: September 1, 2000
Citation: Rao, S.C., Coleman, S.W., Volesky, J.D. 2000. Yield and quality of wheat, triticale and agrptricum forage in the southern plains. Crop Science. 40:1308-1312. Interpretive Summary: Winter wheat is a major source of forage for livestock in the southern Great Plains. Producers have the option to remove cattle at the jointing stage and harvest grain or continue grazing until end of April, without grain production ("graze-out"). Either option creates a forage deficit period in the spring until warm-season perennial grasses are available for grazing. We evaluated seasonal forage production patterns and nutritive value of three wheat species (winter wheat, triticale and agrotricum). Triticale and agrotricum had vegetative growth periods that were 14 and 28d, respectively, longer than wheat. At physiological maturity, agrotricum produced 22% more biomass, 3.5% less grain and 28% greater straw yield than wheat. Prolonged vegetative growth of agrotricum has the potential to provide high quality forage for 4 weeks longer than wheat, the traditional forage. Livestock producers have the option to seed agrotricum mon pastures designated for graze-out. Due to lower seed production and lack of value of agrotricum seed, agrotricum cannot be planted on acres designated for both pasture and grain production.
Technical Abstract: Abstract Hard red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a major cool-season forage that couples with warm season perennials to provide livestock feed in the Southern Plains. Availability and quality of wheat forage declines in April, creating a forage deficit period until warm-season perennial grasse are available. Other cool-season annual grasses with different growth patterns may help fill this forage deficit. A field experiment was conducted on Brewer silty clay (Fine, mixed thermic, Pachic Argiustolls) from 1994 - 1997 to compare yield and quality of winter wheat, triticale (X Tricosecale) and agrotricum (Triticum aestivum X Elytrigia sp. Var."OK-906' bove-ground whole-plant biomass during late fall and early spring were greater for wheat than agrotricum, but this trend was reversed in late spring and early summer. Average growing degree-days to reach physiological maturity were 2500, 2670, and 3100 for wheat, triticale and agrotricum, respectively. Averaged over years, triticale and agrotricum reached maturity 14d and 28d after wheat, respectively. At physiological maturity, differences in biomass accumulation between wheat and triticale were minimal, but agrotricum at physiological maturity produced 22% more total biomass, 3.5% less grain and 28% greater straw yield as compared with wheat. Differences in straw IVDMD among species were minimal. Because of its prolonged vegetative growth compared with wheat or triticale, agrotricum has the potential to fill the late spring forage deficit period in the current production system and reduce supplemental feed cost for livestock.